Tom Cavanagh’s hidden power? He’s super pragmatic. He’ll admit, for instance, that when he initially signed on to star in The Flash, the CW’s hit superhero drama, he wasn’t terribly optimistic. “I always assume every show is just going to get cancelled,” he says. “You have to be realistic about it. I’ve been in shows that weren’t great, and ones I thought were home runs that got cancelled after a few episodes. So your job is to tell the story as best you can before they bring down the hammer.”
Wool blazer ($1,900) by Canali, at Harry Rosen; wool vest ($150) by Façonnable; cotton button up shirt ($75) by National Standards, at Motherland; silk pocket square ($45) by Bugatchi, at Harry Rosen.
That sounds awfully cynical — until you read Cavanagh’s IMDb page. His last decade looks, at times, like a catacomb of canned-too-soon TV series: Love Monkey, My Ex-Life, Eli Stone, Trust Me. The Ottawa-born actor broke out in the early aughts as the lead in Ed, a quirky NBC sitcom about a hotshot New York lawyer forced to start from zero in small-town USA. His likeable, sweet turn in the show made him a go-to actor for likeable, sweet roles in rom-coms. Which was fine and all, if not just a tad limiting. “For a while, people were like, ‘Well, he just plays nice guys,’” he says. “You have to remind people you’re an actor.”
Wool three-piece suit ($1,350) by BOSS, at Harry Rosen; cotton button up shirt ($765), and velvet tie ($325) by Tom Ford, at Holt Renfrew; leather boots ($135) by Base London.
And remind them Cavanagh has — on The Flash, now in its third season, he plays Dr. Harrison Wells, Flash’s sometimes ally, sometimes arch-nemesis, depending on which alternate timeline he’s been yanked out of. Portraying such a madcap character with multiple iterations could easily veer into the realm of caricature, but Cavanagh pulls it off with restraint, grounding his performance even when the script gets loopy. It’s made the Canadian actor a critical standout on the show, which also happens to be the highest-rated series in the CW’s history.
Wool blazer ($1,650) and leather and wool shoes ($995) by Etro, at Harry Rosen; cashmere sweater ($385) by Gran Sasso, at Holt Renfrew; wool trousers ($1,100) by Valentino, at Holt Renfrew.
Still, Cavanagh’s not getting too over the moon about this late-career resurgence. He’s a realist. As such, he’s already got his mind on his next job, and even sees this very interview as an opportunity to line that up. “Kevin Smith is making an Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai reboot,” he says. “I’d love to work with the guy on that. I’m going to put him in a headlock and further that discussion by telling it to you. Now it’s out there.”
Wool suit ($800) by Strellson; cotton button up shirt ($120) by Ben Sherman; silk tie ($280) by Bottega Veneta, at Holt Renfrew; leather belt ($55) by Perry Ellis; leather boots ($130) by Base London.
Can you blame him? You know how it is in this industry: any good fortune you’re having today could be gone in a flash.
Wool overcoat ($1,900) and cashmere turtleneck ($450) by Armani, at Simons; wool blazer ($1,500) by Lardini, at Holt Renfrew; wool trousers ($295) by BOSS; cashmere scarf ($125) by Holt Renfrew; leather boots ($160) by Ben Sherman.
Wool suit ($2,700) by Givenchy, at Holt Renfrew; cotton button up shirt ($120) by Matinique, at Motherland; cotton bow tie ($50) by Simons; leather belt ($55) by Perry Ellis; leather chelsea boots ($905) by Prada, at Harry Rosen.
Wool suit ($1,750) by Paul Smith, at Holt Renfrew; cotton shirt ($135) and wool tie ($50) by Le 31, at Simons; G-Timeless in stainless steel (price upon request) by Gucci.